Earl Young - His Life and Legacy

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Charlevoix Courier, October 16, 1968

Medusa & reality

EARL YOUNG has deservedly become as much a Charlevoix institution as has the beauty of our lakes and the foghorn. His stone buildings have set the community's mood more than many of us understand. Over the years his controversial participation in issues have earned him a reputation as an unpredictable character.

Those who know Earl and understand his brooding moments never have a doubt but what a deep love for Charlevoix and unique feeling for its natural charm are his guiding motivation.

In lieu of these factors, his recent support for Medusa's South Point operation and polite slap at the company's critics took many Courier readers off guard.

It shouldn't have. Earl has long, and publicly, supported Medusa. As stated earlier, there is no second guessing the nearly 80-year-old patriarch.

What Earl did by writing the article took courage of the particular kind he has often demonstrated in stepping outside the "establishment" to advocate change.

Unfortunately, we fear that in this case he is being naive. Several members of the citizens committee working to keep Charlevoix as unpolluted as possible have much broader experience than Earl does with heavy industry. We cannot understand anyone believing that Medusa is going to voluntarily be an exception on South Point. Our experience with top Medusa officials in the last five years proves to us they cannot be relied on to remember pledges that being a good neighbor comes first.

Those of us who have probed for the truth of what is happening at Medusa realized last winter that production problems were being given priority over pollution control. When asked if the clinker cooling and grinding system were working properly company spokesmen refused to answer.

Now our unconfirmed facts have been confirmed by Robert W. Fort, Medusa president. Fort told a Wall Street Journal reporter "operating problems with the clinker cooler, a key piece of equipment, have resulted in third quarter output falling well below the second quarter," to quote the Journal; and that the clinker handling machinery will be replaced.

It would be ideal for Charlevoix and the entire nation's lakes, rivers and air if Medusa and the other heavy industry were as genuinely concerned about their community as Earl Young is.